Questions We Are Asked Each Week By Clients...
We are often asked questions like how much should the insurance company pay? How are my weekly benefits calculated?, etc. So we have put together some of the questions we here the most and the answers to them. We hope this helps you avoid making a mistake in your Iowa personal injury, car accident, dog bite, work injury or other injury matter.
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Are my workers’ compensation benefits taxable?
No, generally they are not taxable and you should not receive a W-2 or 1099 for the workers' compensation money you receive.
I was out of work for 10 days, but they only paid me for one week. Can the insurance company do that?
Yes. You do not get paid for lost wages for the first three days you are out of work, unless you are out of work for 14 days or more and then the insurance company is supposed to pay you for the first three days. Learn more about what you should be paid here or in our Workers Compensation guide.
Does the permanent impairment rating include my pain and suffering?
How is my weekly workers' compensation check calculated?
Your weekly check is also called your rate. Your rate is determined by your wages before the work injury, marital status and exemptions. How your rate is determined is explained more here and in our Iowa Work Comp. book.
If you have questions and would like to speak with someone immediately, CALL 641-792-3595 and ask to speak with one of our workers compensation attorneys.
What if I do not like the doctors they send me to?
As a general rule if you want your employer or their insurance company to pay for your medical care and treatment, you will need to see the medical providers that they choose. It is possible to change your medical providers through a procedure called alternative medical care, but there are very specific legal requirements to be successful so you should at least consult with an attorney about your medical care issues. Click here to learn more information about your options for medical providers in Iowa workers compensation cases.
The work injury attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair want to answer the questions you have about your work injury case. Order our Iowa Work Injury Book at no cost or obligation to learn more about your rights as an injured worker.
How is my medical care handled in the workman compensation system in Iowa?
If you have been injured in a work-related accident in Iowa, you may choose to file an Iowa Workers' Compensation claim. In an Iowa Workers' Compensation claim, you may be compensated for your medical expenses. However, subject to a few exceptions you will not be permitted to choose your doctors and other medical providers.
Iowa is an employer choice state which means that your employer or their insurance company will generally direct the medical care and treatment. This means that they will usually choose your doctors and other medical providers, sometimes called the company doctor. The relationship between you and the medical providers is very important and we provide tips on dealing with medical providers in our workers' compensation book that we offer at no cost.
If you are denied alternate medical care by your employer and their insurance company, then there is a procedure available to request that the care is ordered by the Workers' Compensation Commissioner. However, there are certain steps that must be followed prior to filing a petition for alternative medical care and you should consult with a qualified Iowa workers' compensation attorney.
If you have been injured in an Iowa work accident, you may be eligible for compensation. In an Iowa Workers' Compensation claim, the available benefits are medical care and treatment usually chosen by your employer or their health insurance company, compensation for time you miss from work healing from your work injuries and compensation for permanent disability which if your injury is an industrial injury (back, neck, shoulder, brain, RSD/CRPS, etc.) then this is based upon your loss of earning capacity.
Contacting a Des Moines Workers' Compensation Lawyer
An injury in the workplace can have devastating consequences. The Des Moines Workers' Compensation lawyer team at Walker, Billingsley & Bair work hard to level the field between injured Iowans and insurance companies. To learn more about what our legal team will do to help you protect your Iowa injury claim, contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair to schedule a no-cost consultation - 888-435-9886.
Can My Employer Force Me to Return to Work after Surgery Caused by a Work Injury?
The answer to this question depends upon several things including what restrictions your surgeon has given you. If the treating authorized surgeon says you are not able to work, then "no" you should not be forced to return to work and instead should receive weekly workers' compensation benefits so long as the insurance company has admitted that your work injury is related to your work activities.
If your doctor says to return to work with restrictions, let's say you have light duty work restrictions which include lifting up to 25 pounds, then "yes", you should contact your employer and provide them with a copy of your work restrictions. You should also make it clear that you are ready, willing and able to work within the restrictions provided. If you employer offers you work, then you need to at least try to do the job. You should keep a copy of your work restrictions in your pocket and if you are asked to work outside of those restrictions you should show your employer written proof about what you can and cannot do. If you have difficulties doing your work even within your restrictions, then you should notify your employer and also contact your surgeon to notify him/her of the problems you are having with your work. Often times, this will result in you talking to the doctor's nurse, but if you are not satisfied you should ask to schedule an appointment with the doctor. Your doctor can change your restrictions if you are having issues working within them.
If your employer does not offer you work, then you or your work injury attorney should contact the insurance company to notify them that you should be receiving weekly TTD- temporary total disability benefits as the employer does not have work within your restrictions.
If your employer offers you work and you decide to not at least try to do the work offered then chances are that bad things will happen such as:
1. You will probably not receive weekly workers' compensation benefits;
2. You may end up being fired from your job;
3. You may be denied unemployment because you refused to accept suitable work; and/or
4. The value of your workers comp case may be dramatically reduced for failing to accept the work offered. Regardless of what is true, if you do not accept work within your restrictions, your employer will always argue that regardless of what your permanent restrictions end up being that they would have accommodated them.
As you can see "no" you cannot be forced to return to work, but there are consequences given the facts in the case which could result in your having no income, being denied unemployment and ultimately damaging the value of your case. Return to employment with restrictions is a very important part of your case and if you have questions or concerns feel free to contact one of our Iowa workers compensation attorneys at 641-792-3595. Also, if you do not already have our book about Iowa work injuries that we offer at no cost, you should request a copy as it explains return to work and other issues in more detail.
Does workers' compensation for mental health therapy apply after a work accident?
When you have a medical diagnosis that you developed a mental health condition related to your employment, it can become a workers' comp claim.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur after a person has experienced a traumatic event.
We're most familiar with soldiers experiencing it upon returning home from war. But it can happen to anyone who has been in or been witness to a catastrophic accident or traumatic event.
Iowa workers who were severely injured in an accident on the job have a risk of developing PTSD following their accident. Even after physical wounds have healed, going back on the job or even just thinking about work can trigger symptoms of PTSD such as anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
When Workers’ Compensation for Mental Health Therapy is Applicable
Mental conditions from the workplace can occur for many reasons. The most common cause is suffering a severe injury on the job and developing PTSD after the injury. However, a worker can experience a mental condition from just witnessing a co-worker in a horrific accident.
Workplace stresses and events can also lead to conditions like PTSD. People who work in stressful jobs like EMTs and firefighters may experience several gruesome accidents in their lifetime which can take a toll on their mind and body over time. People who work in a hostile, stressful job can also suffer from anxiety and fatigue if their job duties expose them to abuse and other trauma.
Difficulties Common with Mental Health Therapy Workers' Comp Cases
Causation is the most important aspect of a workers’ compensation claim. First, you will require a medical diagnosis of the mental health condition. Second, you will need to connect that condition's cause to something that occurred while you were on the job or an injury sustained while working.
Workers' comp benefits for mental health therapy can be extremely difficult to collect in cases of mental health disorders. Most mental health conditions do not appear immediately, and some such as PTSD can take months to develop and present in your daily life.
The ease with which you can win a workers' comp case for mental health therapy is partially dependent on how long it has been since the traumatic incident that caused your mental health condition. The longer it has been, the more tenuous the relationship between your work struggles and your subsequent disorder.
Lawyers Help When Having Trouble Getting Mental Health Therapy
As long as you have the proper evidence to show that your mental health condition occurred because of a work-related event, and a doctor corroborates this, workers' compensation should cover the cost of mental health therapy.
If you are denied coverage for therapy, Walker, Billingsley & Bair is here to help. Call (888) 435-9886 or fill out our online contact form to find out about your legal options for ensuring your mental health medical expenses are covered.
Will workers’ compensation cover regular pain treatment?
Workers who are injured on the job may require treatment for the physical pain they suffer as a result of their injury. These treatments may include prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation. If you need treatment for pain caused by an injury that happened while you were working, here’s what you know about how workers’ compensation insurance will handle pain treatment.
All Medical Benefits Must Be Paid
Workers’ Compensation Law Section 85.27 requires that the employer (or the employer’s insurer) pay for all “reasonable and necessary medical care incurred to treat the injury.” As such, if pain treatment is considered to be a reasonable medical expense in a medical professional’s opinion, then your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance is required under law to pay it.
Treatment for pain should be administered for as long as a medical professional recommends it.
Who decides what medical benefits I deserve?
Who gets to determine the medical benefits to which you’re entitled, and what benefits will workers’ compensation insurance pay? In Iowa, your employer has the right to choose your doctor. Workers’ compensation must pay for pain treatment if that doctor believes you require it.
However, the doctor your employer chooses instead may conclude that you do not need any pain treatment for your injury. If this is the case and you feel as though you do require treatment for pain, then you have the right to request alternative care. If your request is not granted, you can apply to the workers’ compensation commissioner.
I’ve been denied pain treatment – what should I do?
If you’re physically suffering as a result of your workplace injury, you have the right to treatment. What’s more, you have the right to have workers’ compensation pay for pain treatment. Because advocating for yourself can be hard, our attorneys are here to help.
At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, we understand how frustrating it is when your employer denies you the care that you need. Treatment for pain is incredibly important – if you’ve had treatment denied, we can help.
Our attorneys are passionate about workers in our state and are determined to work hard to get you your full benefit amount. To learn more, call us today at 888-435-9886 or fill out our online contact form.
Does workers' compensation cover rehabilitation expenses for my injury?
Many types of work injuries such as strained/sprained muscles, broken limbs and torn ligaments can result in a need for physical therapy in order to restore a worker to top condition. If your work injury requires rehabilitation, your costs should be covered under your employer's workers' compensation policy.
When is rehabilitation necessary?
Rehabilitation is necessary when a single procedure or treatment is not enough to resolve your health issue fully. The most common type of rehabilitation is physical therapy and is used to restore full range of motion and strength in injured limbs and joints.
Another common type of rehabilitation is re-training for your job. If you have been out of work for several months, you may need to be re-trained to resume your previous work. If you suffered a life-altering injury such as the loss of a limb, you may need to learn new ways to adapt to your regular work duties or learn new duties to replace tasks you no longer are able to complete due to your injury.
Finally, rehabilitation can include psychological counseling. Traumatic accidents like oil rig explosions and building collapses can cause mental trauma in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you witnessed a catastrophic accident in which you were seriously injured or saw a coworker die, you might need therapy to overcome any lasting feelings of fear, anxiety or depression left after the event.
If Your Employer Will Not Cover Rehabilitation
Make sure that you have a referral from your primary treating doctor explaining your need for rehabilitation services. It may be a case of your employer or the insurance company only wanting you to see their providers, and you will be referred to a different rehabilitation service.
If your employer does not feel it is necessary to offer you special training or job duties to suit your recovery or changes in physical or mental ability, you should explain your current condition, share doctor's notes and finally share your prognosis for recovery.
If your doctor has not provided you with a plan for re-training at work, be proactive and develop a plan of your own that you feel would benefit your return to work. Make sure that if your doctor has told you to resume only light duty for a period and that he or she defines what light duty does and does not entail. These items should be shared with your employer to attempt to resolve any discrepancies in allowing your rehabilitation coverage.
When Your Employer or Insurance Won't Allow Rehabilitation, Call Us
Your rights to workers' compensation benefits rely on your employer reporting your condition to the insurance company and the insurance company's response to the documentation. If your employer fails to provide the full documentation of your injury, medical care and recovery, the insurance company may not cover necessary treatment.
If you are denied rehabilitation service coverage of any type, it's time to talk to a workers' compensation attorney. The Walker, Billingsley and Bair workers' compensation law firm is here to help injured Iowans seek the full amount of compensation and care for their work injury, including rehabilitation. Contact our office today to schedule a FREE consultation regarding your case and legal options. For immediate assistance, call (888) 435-9886 or fill out our online contact form and get the information you need.